Nissan 370Z Roadster 2010 Review

June 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Nissan’s Z cars have a lengthy history that’s been groundbreaking, if not always successful. It all kicked off back in the late 1960s when the 240Z was launched and changed the way the world viewed Japanese performance cars. Before this break-through vehicle Japanese sports cars were often seen as too small, uncomfortable and worse — underpowered. The 240Z threw that perception into its six-cylinder engine and burnt it up, but not every Z car since has been as well received. Now the new 370Z is the sixth vehicle to wear the iconic ‘Z’ badge and the coupe has received raving reviews, but can the roadster variant keep pace? Car and SUV spent some time with the 370Z’s soft-top sibling to find out if it’s pure Japanese sport car or just a very expensive hair dryer.

From the outside the Roadster isn’t a large departure from the Coupe: it’s brawny, bold and, while curvaceous, isn’t at all feminine. The 370Z has ironed out much of the awkwardness that the preceding 350Z was criticised for. The shark tooth look up front is purposeful and a long bonnet with raked back headlight clusters ooze style. At the rear it’s big booty time with a high deck and wide swollen guards that are pinched off by a nearly vertical rear bumper. With so much visual mass at the rear the 370Z is athletically stanced and possesses massive road presence. The look is finished off by perfectly matched 19″ Rays alloys and a Z badges on the front guards that moonlight as indicators.

When it comes to the roof, the 370Z looks better with it dropped, but it remains a commendable effort. It’s longer and tapers off more gradually than the roof on the 350Z roadster. It also uses a lined high-quality fabric rather than vinyl and houses a glass rear window. To lower or raise the roof requires no latches or manual input and is done with the push of a button by an electro-hydraulic system. It’s a busy affair as the roof clunks through its movements. It can also be performed from the outside of the car by holding down the door unlock button. There is a solid feel to the roof and its mechanism, once in place, up or down, there is no creaking or noise from any joining points.

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2010 Tesla Roadster Sport vs. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

April 5th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

2010 Tesla Roadster Sport vs. 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Tesla begins production of RHD roadster

February 4th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Tesla Motors has begun production of the right-hand drive version of its all-electric Roadster, to be launched in the UK later this month.

“The right-hand-drive model is our response to growing demand from high-performance car buyers in the UK who are also interested in their impact on the environment,” said Cristiano Carlutti, Tesla’s Vice President for European Sales and Operations. “Tesla is dramatically expanding its retail footprint in Europe, we look forward to building our community of owners and fans throughout the continent.”

Further to the new right-hand drive system, the Tesla Roadster has also seen a few upgrades for the 2010 model year. These include improvements to noise-reduction materials, a new stereo system and other minor enhancements.

Tesla has delivered about 1,000 Roadsters to customers in 21 countries since the car went first went on sale in 2008. The new RHD version, is available exclusively at Tesla’s Knightsbridge showroom in London but it’s likely some examples will be exported to markets like Japan and Australia and possibly even here in NZ.

Disappointingly, the move to RHD production comes rather late as the current version of the Roadster is due to cease production next year in order for the Lotus factory in which it’s built to receive an upgrade.

2008 best inventions of the year

December 20th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Run, ride, swim and sing through some of Time Magazine’s best inventions of 2008


Tesla Roadster

December 17th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Lotus-derived electric supercar

Mini Coupe and Roadster on sale 2011

December 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

After the recent unveiling of the Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show, new reports are now suggesting both models could be in production as early as October next year and on sale early in 2011.

Around 1000 new jobs are expected to be created at MINI’s Cowley assembly plant in the UK to help build the new Minis, according to a recent report.

Mini confirmed in September that the production Coupe will make use of the same turbo-charged 1.6 litre petrol engine that drives the MINI John Cooper Works, developing 155kW and 260Nm of torque.

The Roadster is more likely to be fitted with the 126kW 1.6 litre turbocharged engine found in the Cooper S instead of the John Cooper Works-sourced unit.

Like the Coupe, the Mini Roadster Concept has a shorter bootlid and a far more reclined windscreen than the standard Mini’s body.

Unique to the Roadster is its manually-folding fabric roof, which matches the profile of the Coupe’s roofline and gives the Roadster a very low 1356mm overall height.

Mini announced back in September that it would postpone production of its other new model, expected to be named the Mini Countryman, to make room for the Roadster and Coupe.

Mini Coupe and Roadster on sale 2011

December 11th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

After the recent unveiling of the Mini Roadster and Mini Coupe at the Frankfurt Motor Show, new reports are now suggesting both models could be in production as early as October next year and on sale early in 2011.

Around 1000 new jobs are expected to be created at MINI’s Cowley assembly plant in the UK to help build the new Minis, according to a recent report.

Mini confirmed in September that the production Coupe will make use of the same turbo-charged 1.6 litre petrol engine that drives the MINI John Cooper Works, developing 155kW and 260Nm of torque.

The Roadster is more likely to be fitted with the 126kW 1.6 litre turbocharged engine found in the Cooper S instead of the John Cooper Works-sourced unit.

Like the Coupe, the Mini Roadster Concept has a shorter bootlid and a far more reclined windscreen than the standard Mini’s body.

Unique to the Roadster is its manually-folding fabric roof, which matches the profile of the Coupe’s roofline and gives the Roadster a very low 1356mm overall height.

Mini announced back in September that it would postpone production of its other new model, expected to be named the Mini Countryman, to make room for the Roadster and Coupe.

Entry-level Porsche rumours continue

October 30th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche 356 roadster fq

New details have come to light about Porsche’s long rumored entry-level model.

Recent reports state that the mid-engine sports car, tentatively dubbed the “new 356”, will cost approximately $54,022 USD. This makes it likely that the entry-level 2.9-litre Boxster will be eliminated when it is redesigned

Power will be provided by a turbocharge four-cylinder engine with 250bhp. While details are limited, the engine is expected to be engineered in a similar vein to Porsche’s current flat six but with a displacement of 1.9- or 2.0-litres.

The baby Porsche will ride on a new steel and aluminum platform, which will also be used for Audi’s upcoming R4, the Porsche should be lightweight and highly responsive. While the cars will share a common structure and several major components (the transmission, electrical system, and most likely some suspension pieces), they will both have unique styling and performance personalities.

The Audi R4 will be launched in June 2011 and the ‘new 356’ will arrive in late 2012.

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